[NPR6428]
Absolutely missing in opinions regarding general immigration is 'depth'. In the main column here, it is with respect to Latin-American immigration in particular. Briefly:
1 - Population growth will continue to do irreversible damage to the resource/environment and to deplete natural resources until 'something is done about it'.
2 - Population will continue to grow until unemployability makes life so difficult for people at the bottom (1, above) that they simply die off -or until 'something is done about it' beforehand.
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Dov Charney, here (my opinion), is of the mind that these issues are 'not his problem', but government's. As far as he's concerned ('American free-enterprise, capitalist democracy and the right to make as much money as you can'), he's operating within the law and paying the best wages he can -doing about as much as he can and can be 'reasonably expected of him'. -He said, further, that he intended to bus his people into this Monday, May 1's march.
I emailed him the below-
   "You are clearly doing the right thing with _existing_ latins in this country, but I am somewhat concerned with an apparent absence of a 'larger view' regarding overpopulation and its consequences, for example -not to mention where 'modern' economics may be taking us".
   I suggested, further, that he (femecon, too?) might click on-
Population, Development and Pollution...

perryb
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ps - for those of you interested, his email address is-
Dov Charney dov@americanapparel.net
April 28, 2006 Morning Edition, National public radio

RENEE MONTAGNE, host: On May 1st, next Monday, millions of immigrants across the country may skip work or school to take part in a national boycott. Here in Los Angeles, a controversial outspoken factory owner says he'll join his workers when they hit the streets. Dov Charney runs American Apparel. Despite the name, very few of Charney's workers were born in America. NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports.


American Apparel owner Dov Charney likes to claim American Apparel is 'sweatshop free.'

Business
American Apparel, an Immigrant Success Story

by Mandalit del Barco

April 28, 2006 The debate over immigration has been dominated by politicians, pundits, and activists with differing viewpoints -- but rarely from those who hire immigrant workers, particularly in the garment industry.
   Dov Charney runs American Apparel, the largest single garment factory in the United States. It's not your typical garment factory. There's electronica music playing in the showroom, hip, edgy, sexually suggestive photo ads on every wall, and a thriving team spirit among the workers.
   And Charney is not your typical garment factory boss. The energetic and wiry 37-year-old regularly stops by each department to greet his employees. Like nearly all of his 3,800 workers, Charney is an immigrant -- though in his case, a Canadian with a green card.
   He says 75 percent of his workforce is probably Mexican, and he claims to check the legal status of each one. "Everyone who works here, we check their documents -- but we don't over-document or under-document," he says. "We follow the law in a very precise manner."
   Still, Charney admits that fake identification cards are easy to come by, and that many of those toiling in the apparel industry and similar businesses are undocumented.
   "Agriculture, apparel, all the fundamental industries -- they're laced with falsely documented workers," he says, and the U.S. economy depends on this class of American workers.
   But he adds that doesn't mean workers should be exploited, and American Apparel is something of a maverick in the industry when it comes to employee health and benefits. And the work environment is radically different, too. Every afternoon, workers take a 10-minute break for synchronized stretching exercises, and a team of massage therapists roams the factory floor to offer free neck rubs all day.
   Earning twice the California minimum wage, employees get subsidized lunches, subsidized health insurance, free on-site English classes and free bus tokens -- even company bicycles to get to and from work. Charney likes to boast that American Apparel is "sweatshop free."
   The strategy seems to be paying off -- last year, American Apparel earned more than $200 million in sales. The company is just three years old and already has 125 retail stores in the United States and around the world, and there are plans to expand.
   Charney plans to use his clout to make a political statement -- on May 1, the factory will close so that he and his workers will take part in the national boycott for immigrant rights. He says he is in favor of liberal immigration policies, including open borders and an amnesty for immigrant workers -- and he's tired of hearing critics blame immigrants for all the problems facing America.
   "Immigrants are the engine of our economy, whether we want to admit it or not," he says. "They're here, legal or illegal -- [a] fundamental part of the economy is these workers."



[Transcript of interview by Mandalit Del Barco]
MANDALIT DEL BARCO reporting: American Apparel is not your typical garment factory. From the electronic music playing in the showroom to the hip, edgy and sexually suggestive photo ads on every wall, to the thriving team spirit of the workers selling colorful t-shirts, socks and underwear.
Mr. DOV CHARNEY (CEO, American Apparel): Watch out, guys.
(Soundbite of cheering)
DEL BARCO: And Dov Charney is not your typical garment factory boss. The energetic and wiry 37-year-old regularly stops by each department to greet his employees.
Mr. CHARNEY: We're very charged right now. So...
(Soundbite of cheering)
DEL BARCO: Like nearly all of his 3,800 workers, Charney is an immigrant, though in his case, a Canadian with a green card.
Mr. CHARNEY: Seventy-five percent of our workforce is probably Mexican. Maybe it's Mexican Apparel, not American Apparel.
DEL BARCO: Do you check on the status, the legal status?
Mr. CHARNEY: Absolutely. Everybody that works here, we check their documents. Yeah, we do what we can to make sure everything's in order. We don't over document, we don't under document; we follow the law in a very precise manner.
DEL BARCO: Still, Charney says he's well aware that fake IDs are easy to come by and that many of those toiling in the apparel industry and other businesses are undocumented.
Mr. CHARNEY: Our culture, apparel, all the fundamental industries, they're laced with falsely-documented workers. That the whole glorious economy, when the economy's doing very well right now, the entire economy depends on this, this class of American workers. So it's just about time to acknowledge what's real. The fundamental part of the economy are these workers.
DEL BARCO: But Charney says that doesn't mean these workers should be exploited. Every afternoon at two, Charney's workers take a 10-minute break for synchronized stretching exercises. A team of massage therapists roams the factory floor to offer free neck rubs all day.
Earning twice the minimum wage, employees get subsidized lunches, subsidized health insurance, free onsite English classes, and free bus tokens, even company bicycles to get to and from work; just some of the perks that have earned American Apparel the label sweat shop free. Glenda Biafono(ph), who immigrated to L.A. from El Salvador, is on the quality control team.
Ms. GLENDA BIAFONO (Employee, American Apparel): (Through translator) The beauty of this place is they respect our work. There are people here who are undocumented immigrants, but the main thing is that we work hard. And here we get so many benefits. We don't really need a union. We have the support of our boss.
DEL BARCO: Some employees here say at other garment factories they worked long hours, crammed together in badly-lit rooms with broken down toilets, getting paid in cash or sometimes not at all, and always in fear of raids by immigration agents.
Mexican immigrant Ruben Elstacio(ph) worked his way up from sweeping floors to customer service rep at American Apparel. He says Charney values his immigrant workforce.
Mr. RUBEN ELSTACIO (Employee, American Apparel): One of his biggest goals is to actually be politically correct about making one example. Just treat the people right and you can be successful.
DEL BARCO: Last year, American Apparel earned more than $200 million in sales. The company already has 125 retail stores in the U.S. and around the world. And there are plans to expand.
Mr. CHARNEY: We're all just little tadpoles, you know, survival of the fittest. We migrate. We move around. It's business.
DEL BARCO: On Monday, Charney plans to close down his plant so he and his workers can take part of the national boycott for immigrant rights. Charney says unlike other businessman, he's not afraid to advocate for a liberal immigration policy with open borders and an amnesty for immigrant workers. He says he's tired of hearing critics blame immigrants for all the problems facing America.
Mr. CHARNEY: People that are commenting on workers that have no exposure to them, or have no experience, or haven't really done their research, it's embarrassing, okay? Oh, they're stealing jobs, or oh, they're this or they're that, or -- come on, man, get real. We're creating jobs for Americans. I think immigrants taking away, no -- they're giving. And whether we want to admit it or not, they're here, whether it's legal or illegal, the fundamental part of the economy are these workers.
DEL BARCO: Charney makes it clear he's not spoiling for a fight with immigration officials, but he's not shy about expressing his views on clearing a path for undocumented workers. The giant banner hanging outside his factory reads: Legalize L.A.
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Mandalit del Barco, NPR News, Los Angeles.


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